Get help if you're being evicted
If you’re about to be evicted from your home, you might be able to get help from your local council.
You can only be evicted if your landlord has followed the proper steps. They must:
- Give you a valid section 21 or section 8 notice
- Get a possession order from court if you haven’t left by the date on the section 21 or section 8 notice
- Ask the court for a warrant of possession if you haven’t left by the date on the possession order
- Get an eviction warrant from the court - this means bailiffs can make you leave your home
If your section 21 or section 8 notice isn't valid, you might be able to challenge the eviction and stay in your home.
If you have nowhere to stay tonight
You might be able to find emergency housing if you’re already homeless.
Your local council might be able help you find a place in a local hostel, night shelter or bed and breakfast, for example.
Contact your local council to find out what help you might be able to get.
Check if your local council has to help you
Your local council has a duty to assess your case if all of these apply:
- you've applied for accommodation or help in keeping or getting accommodation
- you're homeless or you'll be made homeless within 56 days
If you’ll be made homeless in the next 56 days and are eligible for help, your local council must help you:
- keep your accommodation
- get suitable accommodation
Your local must help you get suitable interim accommodation if there is reason to believe all of these apply:
- you’re homeless
- you’re eligible for help - for example, if you’re a British or Irish citizen living in the UK and you’ve not recently lived abroad
- you’re in priority need for accommodation - for example, you're pregnant or have children who live with you aged under 16 (or under 18 if they're in full-time education)
If after 56 days or if your local council has done all it can to help you get accommodation, they’ll look at 5 legal tests. These tests decide if you:
- are eligible for help
- are homeless or will be made homeless within 56 days
- are in priority need for accommodation
- are intentionally homeless - for example, if you were evicted because you didn’t pay rent - in some cases they’ll decide if you are, check with your local council if you’re not sure
- have a local connection - for example, you’ve lived or worked in the area
You might also be in priority need if you're disabled or have a long-term illness and being evicted could make your condition worse.
It can be difficult to prove to your local council that they have to help you. Get help from your nearest Citizens Advice - they can tell you what to say.
If your council doesn’t have to offer you housing
Your local council might help you in other ways. If you're homeless they can give you help to find a new home. If you're going to become homeless they can try to help you stay in your home.
The help you can get depends on your situation. This could include:
- advice on how to find a home
- getting help to pay for the deposit for a new home
- help to pay your rent in advance if you find a new home
- help with moving costs
If you get Housing Benefit or Universal Credit to help pay your rent, your local council might also be able to find a private landlord who accepts tenants on benefits.
It’s also worth looking at other ways of finding somewhere else to live. For example, joining the housing register and applying to local housing associations.
Make a homeless application
You should speak to your local council as soon as you know you’re going to be homeless.
There isn't a set time to get a decision from the council - they should try to deal with your case without causing an unreasonable delay. They might have to find you a temporary place to live while they make a decision.
You can find your local council’s contact details on GOV.UK.
If the council thinks you’re going to be made homeless within 56 days (8 weeks), they must try to find you somewhere else to live.
The council might:
- try to negotiate with your current landlord so you can stay
- pay for your deposit
- give you contact details of landlords or agents who might have available properties
- help you with a benefits claim so you can afford rent
It’s worth going to your local council office as soon as it opens. The housing officer will be able to give you advice and answer any questions you have.
You should take:
- proof of your identity, for example your passport
- your tenancy agreement, if you have one
- evidence of why you have to leave your home, for example an eviction notice
- someone with you if you want to, like a friend or family member to support you and take notes
Talking to a housing officer
Tell the housing officer about your situation and why you’re being made homeless.
The housing officer should explain the application process to you. They’ll look at your situation and decide whether they can help you. This could be help finding somewhere to live or advice about your other options.
The housing officer will look at things like:
- if you're in priority need, for example if you’re considered vulnerable because you’re disabled or have a long-term illness
- if you're eligible for help, for example if you live permanently in the UK
- the reason you're homeless
- if you're about to be homeless, for example if your landlord has given you a valid section 21 notice
- if you're already homeless, for example if you’re staying at a friend’s house because you’ve been evicted
You can ask the housing officer for confirmation in writing that your application is being processed. If your council won’t help you, ask them to confirm this in writing - and get their reasons why.
Getting a decision from your local council
Your local council will look at your situation and decide whether to find you somewhere to live.
You should get a letter telling you the council’s decision.
If your local council can help you, you’ll usually be given short-term housing until a suitable home is available. Your local council could also help you find a privately rented home where you’ll be able to stay for at least 6 months.
Your local council might be able to find you emergency housing even if they can't find you a long-term place to live.
If your local council can’t help you
If you disagree with your local council’s decision, you can ask them to review it. You’ll have 21 days from the date of the decision to request a review.
Your local council has to give you advice on how to find a new home even if they can’t help you get one, for example the details of letting agents and hostels. The advice you’ll get depends on your situation and why your council can’t help you find somewhere else to live.
Contact your nearest Citizens Advice if you want to challenge your local council’s decision.
Check if you can get extra money
You might be able to get extra money if you need help finding somewhere to live.
Check if you can get:
- Housing Benefit or Universal Credit - read more information on who can apply
- a loan to help pay for a deposit or help from a local welfare scheme - you’ll need to ask your local council
- a discretionary housing payment (DHP) - you can get a DHP claim form on Shelter's website
Make sure you get your tenancy deposit back
Don’t forget to get your tenancy deposit back from your landlord after you move out. Read more about getting your tenancy deposit back.
Contact your nearest Citizens Advice if you need help with the cost of finding somewhere to live.